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Thoughts on the VKB Gunfighter Mk II


streakeagle
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I damaged a bearing on my roll axis by using two #50 springs and later found out the suggested maximum is two #40 springs. I have yet to fix that bearing, but I got a 2nd Gunfighter Mk II so I can afford to risk damaging the first one trying to fix it myself.

 

There are two reasons I tried using 2 x #50 springs: 1) I am using the 200 mm extension that came with the MCG Pro / Gunfighter Mk II I originally purchased a while back, and 2) I am using heavy Thrustmaster Warthog and Hornet grips with adapters.

 

When my 2nd Gunfighter Mk II arrived, I used only 1 x #50 spring, but tried out the special cam provided with Warthog adapters. Presumably, this cam is designed to provide stronger centering action for the extra weight of the heavy metal Thrustmaster grips. This cam created the sensation of a center detent, not unlike the feel of a stock Warthog stick/gimbal. At the same time, the #50 spring wasn't strong enough to keep the grip centered with either the 200 mm extension. I didn't buy the VKB stick so that it could feel like a Warthog and have worse self-centering action.

 

Tonight, I put the stock cam (10) back in place and went to 2 x #40 springs on the pitch axis and left 1 x #50 on the roll axis. Problem solved. The stick feels smooth and centers perfectly in pitch. I turn my grip to the fullest extent to the left (counter clockwise) to keep my wrist straight while holding the grip with my right hand. This causes some issue with centering in the roll axis with only 1 x #50 spring... it tends to stay where you put it once you get near the center. If you center it, it stays there. If you bump it ever so slightly, it stays there, too. I am going to fly this way a bit before think about increasing the springs to 2 x #30 or 2 x #40 since I managed to damage the roll axis the last time I used 2 springs.

 

I got the KG12 grip with the 2nd Gunfighter MK II. It feels great and works well with the Bf109 and Fw190s. My main gripe is that the button off to the left side at the top of the stick isn't a button at all, but a POV hat. The POV functionality is great, but I would have appreciated a center press function in addition to the POV functionality. It would be nice if there was a switch to detect the position of the flip down trigger/safety. It also would be nice if the top center switch had POV functionality in addition to button action. This would have maintained the look and feel of the grip while multiplying its usefulness in PC sims. I would also really have preferred to have had the historically accurate checkerboard texture of the real grip. It feels so much better than smooth surfaces. There were better versions of the KG12 type grip available at one time (thinking of Baur) and I regret not getting one when it was available. But this one is good enough for my purposes unless a better one becomes available.

 

Right now, I have been rotating between all of the grips I have working with the Gunfighter MK II except for my SCG basic version. MCG Pro with MiGs and Spitfire that have braking lever on the stick. Warthog grip for F-16C and A-10C, Hornet grip for all other US aircraft, and the KG12 for the Bf109/Fw190s. I have an SCG Pro arriving in two days. I may end up using that for all US aircraft except the F-16C/A-10C with the Warthog grip and the F-15C/F/A-18C/AV-8B with the Hornet grip. But the SCG Pro size, shape, and controls arrangement make it a great choice for all US aircraft, making the Warthog grip and Hornet grip optional depending on whether I feel like swapping grips or not.


Edited by streakeagle

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My SCG Pro was supposed to arrive yesterday, but came today. Since I already had the standard SCG, there are no surprises: it looks and feels the same except that the side button is a hat switch with a center depress and the top left hat can be analog or a hat as indicated by a red light and toggled by the center depress button.

 

The SCG Pro arrangement very similar to US F-16/F-18 grips, but I find it closer in shape/comfort to my all-time favorite B-8 grip. I wish the SCG had an analog brake lever rather than a twist axis, but I suppose I could use axis tuning to make it work as a brake lever. Besides and analog brake lever, the MCG Pro has one more push button and one more hat/center drepress, which gives it a lot more flexibility, but I much prefer the SCG for its ergonomics/arrangement.

 

Thrustmaster really missed the boat when they designed the Cougar and Warthog to permit interchangeable grips, but took so many years before ever releasing a 2nd grip option. VKB for the win with multiple grips of their own and adapters to allow me to use both Thrustmaster grips, too!

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